Members of the House of Representatives and Senate recently introduced legislation that would help ensure that all public school teachers earn a livable and competitive wage that is at least $60,000 a year and increases over the course of their career. ACCTE strongly supports this legislation and encourages you to contact your members of Congress to encourage them to support it as well.
Education is key to ensuring that our nation has access to a well-trained, highly qualified workforce to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy. However, our nation faces a shortage of teachers and other educators to help meet these needs. Today, 44% of public school teachers quit the profession within 5 years and teacher pay has been stagnant for decades. Unacceptably, after adjusting for inflation, the average weekly wage of a public school teacher has gone up by only $29 over the past 30 years, forcing many public school teachers to work two or three jobs during the school year to make ends meet.
This is simply unacceptable.
To help remedy this, Rep. Federica Wilson (FL-24) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently introduced legislation (H.R.882/S.766) to address this challenge and attract more individuals to the profession. Among other things, the legislation would increase federal investments in public schools and in supporting the teaching profession and require States to establish a “minimum salary for teachers” that must be at least $60,000 and to pay teachers a livable and competitive annual salary that is at least and commensurate with similarly college-educated and experienced professionals and increases throughout a teacher’s career.
Urge your members of Congress to support this critical legislation today using the AACTE Action Alert.
AACTE expressed its support for President Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget, which calls for strong investments in education that will help address the critical shortage of educators in our nation’s schools as well as help millions of students achieve their academic dreams.
The nation faces an unprecedented challenge hiring and retaining well-qualified and diverse educators to lead our classrooms. This shortage has been exacerbated by the pandemic, stagnant wages, and difficult work environments. The president’s budget proposal seeks to address many of these challenges. AACTE urges Congress to fund these priorities at the highest possible levels.
The House Education and Workforce Committee recently approved legislation that would establish a Bill of Rights for parents of elementary and secondary school students.
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Julia Letlow (LA-5), would, among other things, empower parents to inspect books and other teaching materials in schools. While AACTE supports parental involvement in their children’s education, it opposed the legislation, in part, because the legislation would restrict any classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression and would pose an undue burden on educators by creating unnecessary and burdensome reporting requirements on schools.
AACTE joins scores of organizations in celebrating this year’s Civic Learning Week, which takes place from March 6 – 10. This is a critical moment to call for increased understanding of the essentials of our government, how to engage with elected officials and understanding the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, held a Town Hall meeting on February 13 to call for increasing the salaries and supporting policies for the nation’s educators.
Sen. Sanders was joined by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA); Becky Pringle, president, National Education Association; Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers; and four educators to talk about their experiences in the classroom and why it is critical to increase salaries for educators. AACTE was invited to share videos (see minute 5:23 and 6:40) of students who are being prepared to become teachers at AACTE member institutions.
President Joseph Biden gave his State of the Union address on February 7 to a Joint Session of Congress. The President touched on numerous subjects, including a call to increase the salaries of public-school teachers, support student and educator mental health, lower student debt, and pass the bipartisan Equality Act to “ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.”
As is customary, the president invited members of the public to attend the speech. Among his guests were Maurice “Dion” Dykes, who is working to become a teacher through a Registered Apprenticeship Program in Tennessee. As you may know, AACTE is working with a coalition of partners to develop a National Guideline Standards (NGS) for registered apprenticeship programs in teaching. When approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, these standards will serve as guidance for all organizations seeking federal recognition of an apprenticeship program in teaching.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it is increasing the educator expense deduction for the first time since 2002, when it was first implemented.
Previously the maximum amount educators could deduct from their taxes was $250 for school supplies, including books, supplies, and other materials used in the classroom as well as COVID-19 protective items. However, the IRS will allow up to $300 in qualified expenses to be deducted for 2022. The limit will rise in $50 increments in future years based on inflation adjustments.
The Biden-Harris Administration today announced a new proposal to reduce the cost of federal student loan payments, especially for low- and middle-income borrowers.
While AACTE is generally supportive of the proposal, which according to a fact sheet will make college more affordable for perspective educators, additional steps must be taken to address the nationwide shortage of highly qualified, diverse teachers in our classrooms. AACTE looks forward to working with the Administration, Congress and state officials to develop and implement policies that achieve these goals.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Congress passed several pieces of legislation to support the safe re-opening of schools and address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and learning of students. Funds included in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds played a critical role in helping achieve these and related goals.
Congress released the details of the annual spending agreement reached this week that will fund most of the federal government, including the Department of Education, for the remainder of the fiscal year.
By law, these bills should have been completed by September 30. However, due to disagreements over various spending and other legislative priorities between the two parties and the House and Senate, the government has been funded by a series of continuing resolutions, which financed the government at previously agreed upon levels.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education issued a reminder that TEACH Grants are available to those who are interested in pursuing a career in education.
The TEACH Grant Program, which was created approximately 15 years ago, provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching. A TEACH Grant-eligible program is a program of study that is designed to prepare you to teach as a highly qualified teacher in a high-need field and that leads to a bachelor’s or master’s degree or is a post-baccalaureate program. A two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree is considered a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree.
In light of a District Court’s ruling in early November that President Biden overstepped his authority in creating a student debt relief program without congressional approval, the Administration recently announced that it would extend the repayment pause on federal student loans potentially through June 30, 2023 (the exact timing depends on any court rulings). The Biden Administration argued that this will allow the Supreme Court time to provide clarity to borrowers.
With the 2022 election results continuing to trickle in, we are learning who will serve as the states’ chief executive officer next year.
On November 8, Americans in 36 states cast ballots to elect their state governor, with approximately a quarter of them winning their first term. As the Education Commission of the States noted, “Governors play an important role in shaping education policy in states through their power to appoint members of their state boards of education, department of education heads and other key roles. Governors also use their authority and budget proposals to advocate for specific education policies and funding.”
The Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter to states and local educational agencies (LEAs) to remind them that they can continue to respond to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by using funds Congress appropriated in response to the pandemic to, among other things, expand opportunities for high-quality work-based learning, often referred to as “apprenticeships.”
A U.S. District in Texas ruled on November 10 that President Biden overstepped his authority in creating a student debt relief program without congressional approval, preventing the Administration from providing relief to federal borrowers. A federal appeals court expanded the ruling on November 14 saying, the pause “will remain in effect until further order of this court or the Supreme Court of the United States.”